Chelsea will renew acquaintances with Eden Hazard this evening when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.
Hazard has just 26 La Liga appearances and three goals to his name since moving a season-and-a-half ago, with a succession of injuries nullifying his chances of making an impact on Los Blancos.
In fact, after missing just 18 games through injury in seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, Hazard has already been forced to sit out 45 La Liga games alone for Real Madrid.
Yet, after seemingly coming through a 13-minute cameo off the bench in Saturday’s goalless draw with Real Betis unscathed, the mercurial attacker is set to be fit to feature against the Blues this evening.
After featuring just 15 times in all competitions this season, it remains to be seen whether he will start in this evening’s game, but the Blues know all about the sort of threat he can pose teams – and they may well want to listen to Hazard’s own advice when plotting how to deal with him.
Back in 2018, Hazard and Marcos Alonso had formed a devastating partnership on the left-hand side of the pitch for the Blues, with duo netting 24 times between them in 2017/18.
Alonso’s attacking instinct saw him score eight times in that season, which prompted Hazard to send him some advice at the start of the following campaign.
“Sometimes he is in front of me,” he said.
“I said to him once, ‘Marcos, I think your first target is to defend, because you play left-back’, but this guy don’t want to listen, he just wants to score goals.”
Whilst Alonso has been displaced by Ben Chilwell as first-choice option on the left side of defence at Chelsea, Hazard’s point still stands, particularly with Thomas Tuchel deploying a wing-back system.
Should the Blues be too gung-ho in attack, the likes of Hazard could well look to exploit the space left on the wing.